We’re going to spend some time covering a broader issue tonight in going through the New Testament and looking for Trinitarian ideas. What exactly does it mean to say that Jesus is the Son of God? The reason for this comes from the genealogy found in Luke 3.
the son of Enosh,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam,
the son of God.
Now I believe in a way, this could refer to Adam as he was a direct creation of God and had no natural father, but in the greater sense, it refers to the second Adam, who is of course, Christ. He is a Son not by grace or by creation but by nature.
Ultimately, the context will determine the meaning as is the case in many other words that can have dual meaning. “The ruler fell down.” Am I talking about a measuring device or am I talking about Queen Elizabeth? You won’t know without more context. Let’s consider some ways it’s used. The first from Job 1.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
In this case, it refers to angelic beings. It speaks of the heavenly court where angels would be and this time, Satan is among them. While I believe Satan is of an angelic nature, could it be he is not included technically due to his fallen nature? Note that Job 38:7 speaks of the sons of God also as witnesses of creation.
Another case is Genesis 6:
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
Looking at the context, I believe that the sons of God refer to the godly line of Seth in this case as I do not believe that spirit beings are capable of pro-creation with human beings. Again, the context determines the meaning.
Note also the Luke 20 passage:
for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
This is an idea we see in the Pauline epistles. (And note in this case the sons of God are differentiated from the angels.)
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Meanwhile, Luke 1:35 tells us that Jesus will be called the Son of God and that certainly means more than just an angel or a good man. This was the whole identity dealt with during the temptation of Christ. “If you are the Son of God.” As we saw in Matthew 26 when Jesus was on trial, that was the question he was asked. “Are you the Son of the blessed one?”
So what does it mean?
It doesn’t mean angel for Jesus. It doesn’t mean simply a good man who is a Christian by adoption. It refers to what he is by nature and what he is eternally. God has always been Father. He did not become Father at one point. He is eternally Father because there is eternally a Son. As we get into the Johannine epistles, we will see this more. To deny the eternal Sonship of the Son is to deny the Fatherhood of the Father. That gets us to a God who is temporal and changing. (I am aware of the Open Theist movement and I definitely do not agree with it.)
When we say Jesus is the Son of God, we refer to his unique relationship with God by nature. He is the one who is in the bosom of the Father as we will see in John’s gospel. He bears the nature of God by nature.
I know that’s a lot to unpack. It won’t be this post. You’ll have to wait for later posts, especially the epistles.